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5 Truths About Empowering People to Change the World

In the Bourne series, the assassins (who are the central characters) are referred to by their controlling agency merely as "assets." Sometimes I fear that within Christian ministry, we fall into the terrible habit of treating people as assets - instruments to help us get ministry done successfully rather than people with souls. One of the values I remind myself of often is that people are not a means for getting ministry done. People are the ministry. And those who volunteer …

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Metrics: Balancing Stats and Stories

Church metrics. That's not a very pretty phrase. In fact, for many, it seems cold. If church becomes a numbers game, then people become "just a number," and when people are just a number, we've failed to emulate the ministry of Jesus. But if we fail to count anybody, we allow people to slip through the cracks and therefore fail to emulate the ministry of Jesus. So how do you count people in a way that makes each person count? You balance the stats and the stories. In other …

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Committees Don’t Do Ministry, People Do Ministry

Committees meet. They schedule a meeting to talk about all the stuff there is to do and who could possibly do it. I was reading this morning from John Maxwell's Leadership Gold: Lessons I've Learned from a Lifetime of Leading. In chapter 18, entitled "the secret to a good meeting is the meeting before the meeting," Maxwell quotes Harry Chapman as giving a list of how to handle being on a committee: Never arrive on time: this stamps you as a beginner. Don't say …

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This is the Age of Many Hats

I was just reading an interview with a blogger named Rose who mentioned wearing "many hats." In her case, "wife, mother, respite worker, proud shih-tzu owner, blogger, published poet, freelance writer, as well as the owner and administrator of todayswriting.com and bloggertalk.net." This got me to thinking about my own life and yours too. In fact, it got me thinking about how the wearing of "many hats" is a trend. …

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The Tougher Side of Leadership: Patience with People

People… they’re all around us! There are nearly seven billion of them on the planet and they’re all different. I think God purposely puts us in relationships (marriage, work, church, etc.) with people who are vastly different than we are and then chuckles as we try to get along. But get along we must – it’s part of our purpose. One of the greatest challenges of leadership is learning to be patient with people. The payoff is huge, but it’s certainly not easy. …

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Pastors Should Always Wear Long Sleeves

I once filled in for a Pastor who had a beard. His church was a bit upset with him about something and over lunch, two little ladies wanted me to point them to that passage that declares Pastors should not have facial hair... stop searching, it isn't in there. Neither does the Bible address the issue of sleeves, but it does encourage us to be in touch with people by having a shepherd's heart. …

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People Follow People

Here's a quick tip - be human. One thing I've learned from Twitter is that people follow people and they "unfollow" spam. In fact, spam is detested in the twittersphere about as badly as it is in the email world. When advising companies about the use of Twitter, I always recommend letting one of the heads of the company tweet personally rather than just giving "company news." This allows you to offer something back to the community rather than just be a taker. …

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Don’t Miss the Joy of Loving People

I became a Pastor in February of 1997, almost 12 years ago. In that 12 years, I've learned a lot about the Scriptures, about theology, and about the methodologies of ministry. But one of the most important lessons I've ever learned is to really love people. In one of my early pastorates, I received some advice that, had I taken it, would have in some respects stripped joy all but completely from my life. I was told never to get close to anyone. Always remember that "they" …

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Kumbaya, My Lord!

What does that mean, anyway? Actually, it means "come by here." We didn't sing Kumbaya at camp this week, but God definitely showed up! This was my first experience with church camp... ever! I'd been to Conservation Camp in elementary school and hated every minute of it. This week was vastly different. For one thing, thirty-six people got saved! As I reflect on camp, let me just share the highlights... The quiet mornings by the lake while the kids slept were great. Waking up …

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The Rush of Summer

Isn't summer supposed to be our vacation from the busyness of life? This summer, for the Cox family, is flying right by in a whirlwind of activity. We've traveled to see family in three different states (Missouri and Georgia for Angie, Kentucky for me). We're getting ready to spend a week at church camp. And then, it will be time for Angie to return to work, for me to get busy with a new church year, and for Ella to begin Kindergarten. In the midst of being busy in these …

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